About the discrepancy between the needs of the labor market and the list of specialists, studied in state institutions for state order, have been spoken since Ukraine became independent, but the situation is still the same.
Since the beginning of August, the entrance campaign-2018 has moved to a new stage: information about admission to the budget form of studying began to appear in the electronic offices of current entrants. As it was stated on the website of the Ministry of Education, those, who received the status “Recommended for admission” must fulfil all the requirements specified in the Conditions for admission to the chosen university till the evening of August 6. The same enrollment by state or regional order will last until noon on August 7. And before August 18, there will be a transfer to vacant budget places for entrants, who have special conditions for participation in the contest.
Meanwhile, the profile ministry reports that according to the results of the entrance campaign, 58, 875 entrants have already become the students of the budget form of studying. Information on the number of contractors will appear later – when universities clearly understand what fresh “harvest” of students they have. However, it is already clear: the labor market has certain needs, and the domestic higher educational institutions, as for many years, once again prepare quite different specialists.
For many years I have been monitoring the topic of the entrance to higher education institutions, so I know about the disbalance between the labor market demand for specialists and their offer that our universities are given above, I know about it not for the first year, but not for the first decade. The question is “How to change the training system in universities so that they teach those, whom our labor market needs?” At various times, several ministers were asked this question and not one university rector. If we mention the names, these are Stanislav Nikolayenko, Serhii Kvit, Mykhailo Zgurovsky, Viktor Skopenko – I will not name all. Each of them had his own answer – and his own recipe how to find that middle ground between supply and demand. However, dozens of years passed, and the problem has not been managed so far.
As the newly appointed Minister of Education and Science Liliya Grinevych noted, 70% of the vacancies that our labor market needs are working specialties, and 80% of school graduates are trying to enter universities. Even if you have work skills, you can often earn much more than having a higher education diploma; still, no one is in a hurry to become a mason, a plasterer, or a tiler.
What does the labor market want?
The State Employment Service states that Ukraine has a qualification-professional imbalance in the labor market. According to the Acting head of the Service Valerii Yaroshenko, vocational education now receives less than a third of school graduates. And this is when the labor market needs “electric welders, locksmiths, turners, bakers, drivers, carpenters”. The Head of the Employment Service notes that service workers (sellers, seamstresses, cooks, waiters, security guards, nurses) and agriculture workers are also in demand. That is now, like 10 years ago, we need tractor drivers, poultry farmers, livestock keepers, agricultural machinery servicemen. Employers are also actively looking for engineers in various industries, a popular speciality of a pharmacist and, as a rule, we do not have enough teachers. At the same time, Valerii Yaroshenko convinces, there are more graduated economists and lawyers among the unemployed, officially registered in the employment service, and this statistics only prove that the modern higher school is not oriented to the real needs of the labor market at all.
If you ask at least in certain regions, who exactly is in demand, you will get the following picture. For example, in Khmelnytsky region, in 15% of cases, they need sellers, yard cleaners and cleaners. Will those, who have a higher education diploma attend this work? The question, in my opinion, is rhetorical. And although in the region, as noted in the Regional Employment Center, there are more than 84,000 vacancies, it is not easy for employers to find professionals. One of the reasons is the low level of salaries. Therefore, according to Deputy Director of the Regional Employment Center Serhii Zalusky, although, in their center there are many vacancies, and the profession of the seller-consultant is, perhaps, the most popular, Khmelnytsky region suffers from unemployment and problems with employment. At the same time, as in Ukraine as a whole, electric-gas welders, seamstresses, electricians, locksmiths, drivers, turners, as well as concrete workers, bricklayers, knitters of circuit bundles, loaders, tractor drivers, guards, are most in demand.
At the same time in Kirovograd, first of all, electric gas welders are needed – they are searched in 12 districts of the region. The State Employment Service notes that in the employment centers of such large cities as Kyiv, Odesa, Kharkiv, Lviv, up to 90% of the unemployed, the registered have higher education. It is insulting, but now higher education is not a guarantee of employment. However, this year, just as in previous years, yesterday’s schoolchildren, having compiled the External Independent Evaluation and on receiving certificates, carried them to universities.
Everyone dreams of becoming philologists and lawyers
Last year, summing up the results of the graduation campaign, the profile ministry stated, traditionally the most in demand among entrants – despite the fact that the labor market has long been saturated with such specialists – law, management, tourism and the economy. High positions in the rating in 2017 had so needed for the economics of the country speciality, like “Computer Science” and “Software Engineering”. This year, as the Head of the Directorate of Higher Education and Adult Education of the Ministry of Education and Science, Oleg Sharov noted, more documents were filed for law and philology. “Applicants submitted almost 915,000 applications: 903,000 in electronic form, the rest – in paper form, and this indicates that about 76% of yesterday’s schoolchildren submitted applications for entry to higher education institutions from the total number of graduates”.
The ranking of specialities, which this year is given the largest amount of state order, looks like this: the Government decided that most of all we need teachers (in all subjects) – up to 7,475 budget places. In the second position – medical specialities (4,507), the third – computer science (3,216 budget places). But the most popular among young people – law – fell in the fourth position – (3,090). The electric power industry, electrical engineering and electromechanics (2,736 budget places), construction and civil engineering (2,650) come next. The philologists on state order and all language directions are meant without exception, will study 2,210 people, 2,025 at the faculty of machine building industry, 1,951 students will master the speciality “computer engineering”, on the speciality “law enforcement” on the budget form of studying will be taught 1,910 freshmen.
At the same time in the profile ministry have already identified the top ten specialities, which this year are the most popular among entrants. So, in total there were registered 914,545 applications of entrants, of which 75,934 – specifically for philology. The law, where 72,965 applications were submitted, has the second position. The third was chosen by management, where 47,695 applications were registered. Then the teachers follow (45,397 applications) and IT specialists (38,374 applications). The economy (29,702 applications) has surrendered its position a little, 29,065 people expressed a desire to become doctors, 25,930 entrants chose the profession of “software engineering”. At the last stages of TOP-dozens of specialities are tourism (24,827 applications) and psychology (22,675).
Moreover, as was noted by Oleg Sharov, among the most popular universities there are not only the capital’s universities: in the top ten – next to them – go Lviv, Kharkiv and Chernivtsi universities. But there are many universities, where applicants did not hurry to file applications. And we face this problem year after year.
“If future students do not choose a university or any speciality in it, should such a university or speciality (educational program, training direction) exist?,” Ihor Likarchuk asked. “I think that they should not. Perhaps, it would be worthwhile, having analyzed the results of the entrance campaigns for the last five years, decide on the deprivation of licenses for the right to conduct educational activities in those institutions that have never been on the list of fifty or eighty most sought-after by applicants? Why artificially support the institution, to which the entrants do not want to go? For ethical reasons, one can support a seriously ill patient, who is in a coma, for a long time. But why do it for many higher education institutions that are in the same coma for decades?”
“Why do we need that technical progress?”
Moreover, further, Ihor Leonidovych writes: “I read the news tape and see how everyone is happy about the successful entrance campaign in Ukrainian higher educational institutions. But I do not think that there are many grounds for joy. Because I looked through at the statistics of the applications submitted and conclude that the TOP-10 selection of entrants was formed by future philologists and psychologists, lawyers and managers. The only thing that is more or less pleasant in this situation is that the secondary education is also at the TOP. Although, there is very little hope that the entrants had a terrible desire to get a teaching speciality. But in TOP-10 there are no upcoming chemists, physicists, mathematicians, biologists… sciences that underlie what was formerly called technical progress. But why do we need that technical progress? We will manage with philologists, lawyers and psychologists”.
The question is more than fair. “The choice of applicants largely depends on the parents, – the Kyiv resident Iryna Melnichenko notes in response. – Think about the following: the number of study hours for all specialities is the same, the number of hours for practice is the same, the number of hours for preparing the graduate work is the same. The difference lies in the fact that for humanitarian specialities the graduate work consists of only the text part, and for engineering specialities, besides the explanatory part of 100 pages, there are 10 more sheets of drawings in A1 format. So how do you think, will an applicant choose a difficult path? And given that he or she will receive about 5,000 UAH per month (salary of mechanics, technologists, microbiologists, etc. in the market) after the graduation, the choice of the entrant and his or her parents is unambiguous. The state does not motivate incoming technical specialities”.
In isolation from the needs of the economy and contrary to common sense
Anyway, but in the Ministry of Education and Science sincerely convinced that the entrance campaign, especially when compared to last year’s, went well. And knowing the love of our officials to, to put it mildly, the decoration of the situation, Opinion decided to ask for a reflection from the inside.
We asked the rector of the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine – the university, which entered the TOP-10 universities in the rating “TOP-200 Ukraine”, – the former Minister of Education Stanislav Nikolayenko about the situation. “We must give credit, technically this entrance campaign was really well organized, we did not have failures,” Stanislav Mykolayovych explained to our publication. “That is, the ministry worked out lessons from last year, when in fact the entrance campaign was terrible, and no mistakes were made. And I, like the leader of one of the leading universities in the country, have a lot of comments. First of all, I want to note that the Government, taking the number of budget places, violated the law on higher education, which says that this amount in the first year should be at least 51% of the number of graduates of the school. And we have, according to one data, 190,000, according to others, 200,000. So at least the state order for the first year of baccalaureate should reach 95 thousand places, whereas it amounted to only about 78,000. From which we can conclude that the Government did not add around 17-18 thousand orders to the universities”.
According to the rector of the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine, the so-called broad entrance is not in favor of our country, when a child simultaneously has the right to apply to 7 universities for 4 specialities. “I proposed to reduce to three applications – did not listen. But such a system in our conditions is absolutely meaningless,” the former Minister of Education and Science is convinced, “because the vast majority of universities have to recruit students almost blindly, completely in isolation from the needs of the economy, completely in isolation from the needs of the business and, finally, contrary to common sense. I will give an example: we have a faculty of management, to which applicants have submitted almost 700 applications. A group of people sat, processed these applications, counted rural coefficients, an introductory score, that is, processed for almost a month. Well, three weeks at least. And this faculty will enter from this 700 people on state order 2-3 people. Therefore, the question arises: why to do this hard, but needless work? In total, almost 14,000 applications were submitted to our university, and all of them had to be processed, but only 700-800 students will join us. Is this correct?”
According to the rector of the NULESU, it is necessary to change the approach to allocating budgetary places. “And why not to do this on the basis of the EIE, taking into account not only the needs of the economy, but especially the regional features – Odesa, Kherson, Lviv, and all regions?’, Stanislav Nikolayenko says. ‘Let it be, to say, a fixed volume? For example, they know that in Odesa, they need 200 teachers – here you have 200 places of state order for these specialities. They know that somewhere they need a certain number of doctors – here they have places for doctors. Today, engineers or agronomists are needed in a certain amount – these are places for engineers and agronomists… Believe me, the profession-oriented work done by universities will then yield results, and a serious step towards balancing the “supply-demand” system that links the labor market and our universities, would be done”.
In addition, the rector of the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine believes, there are problems with graduates from rural areas entering universities. “Even the veterinarians are now mostly urban schoolchildren,” he notes, “but none of them will go to the village later, they treat dogs in the cities. I have nothing against, but do we really need so many veterinarians, who will work in the city in private clinics? Hardly. Here, it is necessary that children from the countryside enter. And now out from all incoming there are only 15% rural, while in villages 37% of people live. At the University of Shevchenko and other leading universities, the number of students from rural areas, who study on a budget order, has decreased severalfold. Sometimes we had more than half, and now about 20-30 per cent. And Shevchenko University, I think, has 3-5%”.
Usually, from the problems that the entrance campaign reveals to their solution, there is an abyss, through which it is not always possible to jump over. Therefore, Stanislav Nikolayenko addressed an open appeal to Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, in which he outlined all the acute moments of the situation. “The prime minister instructed the First Deputy Prime Minister Stepan Kubiva, the Deputy Prime Minister for Humanitarian Affairs Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, as well as our profile ministry, that all these issues should be considered in the near future with the Council of Rectors,” the ex-Minister of Education says “it simply cannot continue: we should not create conditions in the country that encourage our youth to go to study in Poland and other countries”.
Text by Larysa Vyshynska